I am especially excited to bring you this lovely recipe because the photos were taken by my good friend Evan Shuster.
This is the perfect comfort dish for this murky week that we’ve been having here in Montreal. Luckily, I took a fun little weekend trip Toronto where there was less slushy snow and more time for eating. Fresh at home, a cookbook issued by the TO based vegan restaurant has been a huge source of inspiration for me. Reviews and general impressions of veggie food scene in TO are to come!
Unlike Fresh at home which offers healthy vegan recipes, this meal is about pure indulgence. On the bright side, your indulgence will be preceded by a fairly intensive upper body work out. When I first attempted to make homemade pasta, I finished with arms softer than the pasta noodles themselves. Kneading the dough, rolling it out and continually rotating the handle of the pasta machine can get exhausting. The good news is that pasta dough is pretty quick to master and once you’ve got the routine down, you’ll be a pro! Trust me, your friends will revel in your pasta making glory. The best part about making ravioli are the endless combinations of stuffing and sauce. For this particular dish, I opted for seasonal butternut squash with some fresh parmesan. This combination is very tasty and pretty inexpensive! It’s a great meal to share with others, I recommend it for a dinner party or an intimate dinner for two.
The final raviolis are tossed in sage butter and topped with crushed walnuts and a sprinkle of fresh parmesan. You may have seen this recipe before, it’s a classic! The aromatic sage and savoury parmesan lend themselves incredibly well to the sweetness of the squash. Mmm, it’s real treat!
Tools: Pasta machine, rolling pin, large pot, frying pan, pastry cutter.
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour + extra flour for rolling
- 5 eggs
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 butternut squash
- 2 white shallots, finely sliced
- 1 tbsp of butter
- 1 tsp of ground nutmeg
- white pepper, to taste
- salt, to taste
- 3 tbsp fresh parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup butter
- handful of fresh sage leaves
Toping: crushed walnuts fresh parmesan
- Preheat oven to 350 f
- Cut butternut squash into two halves, salt and drizzle both sides with a touch of oil olive.
- Lay squash halves face down on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 30 – 45 minutes or until fully softened.
- Crack 1 egg, separating the yolk from the egg white (the egg white will be used as a binder for your ravioli.)
Step 1 – Preparing the dough
1- Sift the flour onto a clean work surface or into a very large mixing bowl. Shape flour into a circular mound with a well in the centre.
2- Crack 4 full eggs into the centre of the well, add the remaining separated yolk (if desired) and olive oil.
3- Use a fork to scramble eggs and slowly mix in the surrounding flour.
4- Working with your fingertips, continue to mix eggs and flour until it forms dough. **It will be very sticky at first, this is normal.
5- Once the flour and eggs are well incorporated, you can begin the kneading process.
To knead: Use the palm of your hands to push and flatten dough, fold it over and flatten again. Rotate and repeat the pushing and folding motion. Use a scraper to dislodge any dough stuck to the work surface. It will begin as a shaggy mass but as you continue to knead, it will start to smooth out. At this stage, if the dough is still very sticky, add a little flour.
** It’s best to start with sticky dough and add flour rather than a very dry dough. If your dough is too dry and flaky and will not mix together nicely, add a dash of water to help moisten it.
6- When the dough is smooth, form it into a ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Let it rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
Step 3 – Making the filling Since the dough is resting, take this the opportunity to make the filling .
- Scrape your pre-roasted butternut squash out from its skin with a spoon and set aside.
- Melt ½ tbsp. of butter in a frying pan on medium-low heat.
- Add shallots to and sauté for 5 – 7 minutes, until translucent with brownish tint.
- Add butternut squash and 1 tsp. of nutmeg to the pan continue to sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add salt and white pepper to taste. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Once cool and add 2 – 3 tbsp. of fresh Parmesan cheese.
Step 4 – Making the ravioli:
- Cut dough ball into 4 equal pieces.
- Using a pasta machine, pass the first piece of dough through the machine at the widest setting.
- Fold the pasta and pass through the machine a number of times until it forms it even rectangular shape.
- Once the dough is shaped and fairly evening on both sides, start lowering the machine setting to a smaller opening. The goal is the get thin long consistent rectangles.
- Lay sheets of dough on a flat lightly floured surface. Spoon out 1 rounded tsp. of stuffing onto the dough, leaving about 1- 1 1/2 inches of room on either side. You must leave enough room to easily cut the pasta without the filling spilling out.
- Using a brush, lightly coat the all the edges surrounding the stuffing. Think of your egg white as glue, it will help to bind the pasta together when you start cutting.
- Fold the sheet of dough over halfway.
- Using your fingers, very gently flatten the dough around the stuffing to avoid too many air bubbles.
- Using a pasta cutter, cut along the three edges of the stuffing to create perfect squares.
- Dust off excess flours and press the edges of the pasta together.
- Once all your raviolis are ready, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Lower the heat and add the raviolis. **Keep in mind these hand made raviolis are quite fragile so you want the water to calm down before you toss them in.
- Cook the ravioli into boiling water for about 6 -9 mins ( the time it takes to cook depends on the thickness of your dough). A good trick to to pull them out when they start to flow to the top.
**My special technique to to throw a discarded sliver of the pasta dough into the water along with the raviolis. After 6 minutes,I pull it out to see if it is to my liking. If it is still too hard, I will allow the raviolis to continues cooking for another few minutes.
Step 4 – Sage butter:
- Melt 1/2 cup of butter over medium-low head.
- Toss in a handful of fresh sage leaves, sauté for 4 minutes.
- Add the ravioli into the pan, sauté for 2 minutes on both sides and add to a plate.
- Sprinkle crushed walnuts and fresh parmesan et voila!